Three Israeli soldiers were wounded — two of them seriously — when a Palestinian terrorist plowed his car into them as they stood at a hitchhiking post in the northern West Bank on Thursday afternoon.
The attack took place at the Sinjil junction on Route 60, near the settlement of Shiloh and the Palestinian village of Sinjil, at around 3:10 p.m.
Two of the wounded were taken to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood, both in serious condition; the third — with light-moderate wounds — was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.
The terrorist was shot by a fourth IDF soldier at the scene and trapped in his car when it subsequently flipped over. He was also in serious condition and treated by IDF troops at the scene, once security forces had established that his car was not booby-trapped.
Magen David Adom said the two victims in a serious condition were suffering from head and chest injuries, were sedated and being kept on respiration.
Dr. Avner Shalmon of Hadassah Hospital said that the two being treated there were under observation and suffering from multiple injuries.
The IDF waited to confirm that the three victims were soldiers until their families had been contacted.
The attack took place not far from the Palestinian village of Duma, where a baby was burned to death early last Friday in a firebombing attack allegedly carried out by Jewish terrorists. Security forces have been bracing for revenge attacks, and the soldiers who were injured in Thursday’s attack had been deployed to the area to help guard against such attacks, security sources said.
Security officials told Channel 2 that the man who carried out the attack is a resident of the village of Bidu in the West Bank, north of Jerusalem.
He was driving north, passed the soldiers, turned the vehicle around and plowed into them.
Officials believe the man was a ‘lone wolf’ attacker and not part of a larger terror cell. Later Thursday, IDF troops entered Bidu and were expected to question his family and others who may have known about his plans ahead of time. Protesters hurled rocks at security forces as they moved into the village and a border policeman was lightly injured.
The car, which had Israeli registration plates, may have been stolen.
In April, two IDF soldiers were stabbed at the same junction, one of them in the neck, by a Palestinian terrorist. The second injured soldier, First Sergeant Tomer Lan, shot and killed the attacker.
Palestinian terror group Hamas praised the attack in a post to its Twitter account saying it was “a natural response to the occupation and the settlers in the West Bank,” the Hebrew-language Channel 10 reported.
In the wake of the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the soldiers who shot the Palestinian driver, and sent his wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.
“I would like to praise the action of the IDF soldiers who reacted quickly and neutralized the terrorist, and to wish a full recovery to the injured,” he said.
He also hit back at those who he said were slow to condemn attacks against Israelis. “I find it strange that those who hastened to condemn terrorism against Palestinians are silent when terrorism is directed against Jews,” he said.
President Reuven Rivlin vowed “there will be no tolerance for terrorism” in Israel, while the soldiers who stopped the attack won praise for their action from across the political spectrum.
In a parallel development police stopped a suspicious vehicle on the Ayalon north highway in Tel Aviv Thursday afternoon, and began inspecting it, citing security concerns. Traffic on the major traffic artery was stopped during the incident but the road reopened shortly afterwards. Two people were detained for questioning, Channel 2 said.